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Lukas Keeps Options Open

As a former basketball coach, Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas knows the importance of having a deep bench and his appears to be quite full after Oxbow and Will Take Charge both earned important Kentucky Derby prep victories and points last weekend. Oxbow easily won the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (G3) at Fair Grounds last Saturday, while his stablemate Will Take Charge stayed home and won Monday’s $150,000 Smarty Jones Stakes. Each horse earned 10 points based on Churchill Downs’ new system for making the Derby field.

Will Take Charge, who had a hard-fought battle to the wire, gave the trainer some anxious moments after he stumbled pulling up, but was fine.

“He’s fine and was fine when we got him back to the barn (Monday) afternoon,” said Lukas. “He must have just tweaked something pulling up from the race.  We jogged him in the shedrow this morning and he’s just great.”

Lukas will decide in the coming weeks where each colt will start next. The next two options are Oaklawn’s $300,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) Monday, Feb. 18 or the Fair Grounds’ $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (G2) Saturday, Feb. 23. Another option is keeping at least one colt out until the March 16 $600,000 Rebel Stakes (G2) at Oaklawn.

“We’re kind of in limbo about where to go with these horses, although we’re sure going to keep them apart as long as we can,” said Lukas. “We’re looking ahead at the races at Oaklawn and the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.  But I’m not likely to run one horse in all four of these races at Oaklawn.  On the other hand we have at least one more (horse) that I like, who might be this kind, so we have a lot of options.”



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